Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (34)

Bríd Smith


34. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will request a review of the commitment contract his Department has with a company (details supplied) relating to the 300,000 homes removed from the NBP in view of that company's withdrawal from the NBP competition; if this contract can be revoked by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7479/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Last April, eir entered into a Commitment Agreement with my Department to deliver high speed broadband to 300,000 premises, predominantly in rural areas.  I understand from the company that this represents an investment of €200 million in rural Ireland. Following its withdrawal from the separate procurement process to appoint a company for the State led intervention, eir reaffirmed its commitment to continue delivery of this roll out.  Although Quarter 4 2017 figures have yet to be verified by my Department, I understand eir have passed over 120,000 of the identified 300,000 premises.  

Some of eir's  key commitments as part of the Commitment agreement include a requirement to:

- pass 100% of the 300,575 premises incorporated in the Agreement;

- connect at least 95% of orders made by service providers/end users at the standard regulated connection charge;

- ensure all premises receive the minimum 30 megabits per second download and 6 megabits per second upload speeds. eir has submitted plans to meet this requirement with a predominantly Fibre To The Home build; and

- achieve agreed milestone targets for premises passed each quarter with a completion date of December 2018.

My Department oversees the fulfilment of this commitment on a monthly basis through meetings and reviews of submitted reports.  eir is required to submit quarterly reports on the progress of the deployment and these are independently verified by my Department and then published on the Department's website

The Commitment Agreement binds eir to its private plans and also includes robust monitoring and enforcement provisions.  In this way I am satisfied the Agreement will ensure provision of high speed broadband services to 300,000 premises urgently in need of connection.